Sensing a "very dangerous situation," Angela Reece testified she screamed at Maryam Rashidi to get away from a truck driver who had stolen $113 in fuel moments before the gas station attendant was run over.
Reece was testifying at Joshua Cody Mitchell's second-degree murder trial, which got underway Monday at Court of Queen's Bench in Calgary. Mitchell is also charged with breaching his bail conditions and robbery stemming from the June 2015 incident.
After being run over, Rashidi died from her injuries "two hopeless days later," according to Crown prosecutor Jonathan Hak's opening statement.
Rashidi, 35, had recently been laid off — along with her husband — from her job as an engineer in Calgary's oil and gas industry, and was working at the Centex on 16th Avenue N.W. when she ran after the truck.
"She was trying to right a wrong," said Hak.
Jurors were shown a series of surveillance videos taken from different angles at the Centex station.
The images show a burgundy F350 pulling up to the pumps, a young man fuels up and then gets in the truck which takes off.
Rashidi can be seen chasing after the truck just seconds later.
The driver of the truck tried to get away but heavy traffic on 16th Ave. N.W. slowed it down.
Reece testified she was nearby when she noticed a commotion and immediately wrote down the license plate of the truck involved.
"It was a frantic situation," Reece told jurors.
As the F350 pulled onto 16th Ave., it came to a halt in traffic. Reece watched as Rashidi pounded on the passenger window, then stood in front of the truck and climbed on the hood.
'Sound like a branch cracking'
Reece said she began screaming at Rashidi
"I was screaming at her 'come back here, I've got his licence number, get away from that truck.'
"I had a sense that it was a very dangerous situation."
But Rashidi didn't respond, and moments later when the nearby traffic light turned green and traffic began to move the truck accelerated.
"I was screaming and I heard a sound like a branch cracking," said Reece. "It was an awful sound."
After three days in hospital, Rashidi died, leaving behind her husband, Ahmad Nourani Shallo, and six-year-old son, Koorosh.
Both Rashidi and her husband were engineers and moved to Canada from Iran in late 2014 to work in the oil and gas industry. They were laid off after just four months in Calgary and Rashidi took the job at the Centex to put food on the table for her family.
She was working her fourth shift at the gas station when she was killed.
"Unbeknownst to her it was to be her last shift," said Hak.
Victim's family not attending trial
Shamsuddin Laiwalla, who manages the Centex and was working with Rashidi that day, testified that employees are trained to try and take down a license plate, vehicle description and not to chase vehicles.
Laiwalla said gas thefts, which occur about four times per month, are covered by Centex, not its employees.
Rashidi's husband and son now live in Vancouver. Her family is not attending the trial.
Mitchell was arrested two days after Rashidi was injured and has been in custody ever since. Defence lawyer Kim Ross is representing Mitchell.
Prosecutors Hak and James Thomas expect to call about 25 witnesses over the two-week trial.
The jury trial is being presided over by Justice Alan MacLeod.
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Clarification : An earlier version of this story said Angela Reece was pumping gas when she witnessed Maryam Rashidi chase a truck driver who had stolen gas, then being run over. In fact, she was merely near the gas station.(Apr 25, 2017 9:51 AM)